Formula 1
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
5 days
Formula E
11 Apr
Qualifying in
00 Hours
:
06 Minutes
:
01 Seconds
MotoGP
04 Apr
Event finished
R
Portugal GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
5 days
NASCAR Cup
R
Richmond
18 Apr
Next event in
6 days
IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
4 days
23 Apr
Next event in
11 days
WEC
13 Jun
Race in
63 days
Supercars
20 Mar
Event finished
17 Apr
Next event in
5 days

Virgin Racing treating Esports rounds as "real race weekends"

Sam Bird reckons his Envision Virgin Racing team is approaching each round of the Formula E Race at Home Challenge Esports competition “as if it were a real race weekend”.

The eight-race series, which will conclude with a double points finale, runs in partnership with Motorsport Games to raise money in support of the UNICEF coronavirus relief fund. 

Bird was the last of the 24 official championship drivers to enter the online championship owing to poor internet connection, but ran as high as fifth on his debut last weekend. 

His teammate Robin Frijns climbed from sixth to finish second in the race around the Electric Docks circuit, which was created specifically for the rFactor 2 sim racing game.  

Bird said his team was holding regular meetings either side of each round to keep the staff race sharp. 

“I would say Envision Virgin Racing are taking this opportunity, because it is an opportunity, to still try and use it as if it were a real race weekend,” he said in an online FE press conference. 

“OK, there’s intricacies of the real car that are not there in the sim world.  

“It’s much more a case of driving flat-out because there’s only a couple of things we can change.  

“However, we’re having meetings online, we’re talking all the time, full intercom systems. 

“It’s taken really seriously just so that everybody can keep fresh in this very strange time that we’re going through right now.” 

Read Also:

Every driver in the Formula E Race at Home Challenge runs with a fixed set-up and all cars have equal performance. 

The Esports competition also does away with the real-life power increases of Attack Mode and Fanboost. 

Notably, the virtual FE cars have two gears rather than a single-speed direct drive powertrains. 

BMW Andretti driver Alex Sims, whose teammate Maximilian Gunther has won both points-paying races so far, reckoned the game offered a realistic representation.  

He told Motorsport.com: “When you boil it down to the fundamentals of how you achieve the lap time, it’s pretty damn similar. 

“It just feels very alien to me on a simulator, I'm terrible at them. 

“But maybe if you are Stoffel [Vandoorne] or Max or some of the really good simulator drivers, they may well have got ways to get the feedback from the simulator to understand how to get the lap time to a representative level.  

In the pre-season test race around the shortened Monaco FE circuit, Gunther topped qualifying with a 51.6-second lap – 1.6s slower than the real-life time of polesitter Jean-Eric Vergne in the 2018-19 E-Prix. 

Speaking for the latest episode of his team’s ‘Re:charge @ home’ podcast, Jaguar driver James Calado added: “What is realistic is the racing side of it, where you try and respect each other.” 

Watch the action on Motorsport.com

The third round of the Race at Home Challenge (Saturday 9 May) is available to watch via the Formula E website, Motorsport.com, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch. The stream starts at 1530 BST. 

Maximilian Günther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports

Maximilian Günther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports
1/15

Photo by: BMW Motorsport

Maximilian Günther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports leads at the start

Maximilian Günther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports leads at the start
2/15

Photo by: BMW Motorsport

Simona de Silvestro

Simona de Silvestro
3/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Maximilian Günther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports

Maximilian Günther, BMW I Andretti Motorsports
4/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Neel Jani, Porsche

Neel Jani, Porsche
5/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Pascal Wehrlein, Mahindra Racing

Pascal Wehrlein, Mahindra Racing
6/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Daniel Abt, Team Abt

Daniel Abt, Team Abt
7/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes

Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes
8/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Maximilian Gunther, Andretti Autosport

Maximilian Gunther, Andretti Autosport
9/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Start action

Start action
10/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Track action

Track action
11/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Track action

Track action
12/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Track action

Track action
13/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Start action

Start action
14/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

Maximilian Günther

Maximilian Günther
15/15

Photo by: FIA Formula E

shares
comments
Ty Majeski dominates the field in Friday Night Thunder win

Previous article

Ty Majeski dominates the field in Friday Night Thunder win

Next article

Watch: ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge at Monaco

Watch: ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge at Monaco
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E , Esports
Drivers Sam Bird
Teams DS Virgin Racing
Author Matt Kew
How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest prize Prime

How an unlikely tie-up won sim racing's biggest prize

An unlikely partnership between World Endurance Championship LMP1 privateers Rebellion Racing and Williams Formula 1's highly-successful sim racing team yielded victory in the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. Here's how it triumphed in the biggest sim race ever staged

Esports
Jun 15, 2020
How seriously should Esports be taken? Prime

How seriously should Esports be taken?

As interest in Esports has increased during the coronavirus lockdown, the lines have become blurred between what's real and what's virtual - especially when some high-profile participants seem to be playing for laughs, says Luke Smith

Esports
Jun 10, 2020
Why Abt's deception left Audi with no choice Prime

Why Abt's deception left Audi with no choice

Daniel Abt's suspension by the Audi Formula E team - and possible loss of his drive - for fielding a ringer in an Esports event could be considered an overreaction. But in a wider context, his employers had little other alternative

Esports
May 26, 2020
How Leclerc is embracing his new mission Prime

How Leclerc is embracing his new mission

The emergence of Ferrari F1 driver Charles Leclerc as a Twitch streaming star has been one of the pleasant surprises of lockdown so far. He says it is giving fans a greater insight into his nature, but that's not his primary purpose

Formula 1
Apr 23, 2020
Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit Prime

Leclerc's Virtual GP annihilation deserves great credit

The introduction of Charles Leclerc, Alex Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi to Formula 1's Virtual GP last weekend meant it was a step above the franchise's debut two weeks ago. But a dominant performance from Esports newcomer Leclerc stole the show

Esports
Apr 6, 2020
How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed Prime

How the hidden side of being fast has been exposed

The lack of real track action so far this year hasn't stop drivers from keeping their racing brains 'fresh', as former F1 star Stoffel Vandoorne suggested last weekend.

Esports
Apr 2, 2020
Why entertainment isn't Esports greatest virtue right now Prime

Why entertainment isn't Esports greatest virtue right now

MotoGP's virtual #StayAtHomeGP was a sad reminder of some of the storylines that could be unfolding had the real-life season not been delayed indefinitely by the coronavirus pandemic. While we can bemoan Esports as being a poor relation of the real thing, it has an even more important function to perform

MotoGP
Mar 30, 2020
F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable Prime

F1’s pantomime Virtual GP is fun but unsustainable

F1 Esports' inaugural Virtual Grand Prix last weekend provided brilliant entertainment to those tuning in to watch a mix of F1 drivers and celebrities battle on track, but was a missed opportunity for marketing its own Esports stars. A change of approach is needed if it is to successfully fill the void until the resumption of proper racing

Esports
Mar 24, 2020